Not Worthy of a Response

So, I spent another few weeks off "vacation" with Mrs. Axe – and by vacation, I mean working on my house and traveling to visit ailing relatives.  Not much of a vacation, as I actually had to come back to work to get some rest.

(Muse:  Is there a point in here somewhere?)

Not really.  I got back a few days ago and am now trying to get caught up on status of submissions, etc.  So as I dig into my submissions, I track back to something I submitted to an anthology.  I noticed that my submissions had been in stasis for some time so on a whim, I drifted back to the site to see if there was any news.  I wondered if they had posted on progress of sifting through the submissions.  I also always worry that my story may or may not be received by the publisher; at least if they had completed the project, I might know I hadn't gotten through.

Well, lo and behold, I found an entry on their page from a month ago, stating they had filled the anthology.  In the interest of preventing the site from being found, I won't use the exact verbiage, but the post read something to the effect of: "If you received an email, you are in."  And that was it.

Hmmm.  What if you weren't accepted?  I guess you get no acknowledgement at all.  Someone commented in a snarky fashion on that exact point.  The editor's response was not nasty but basically boiled down to:  "I don't have time to do that."

This is annoying.

Look, I get that editors are busy.  I get that they are the ones making the choices on stories they want to buy, so they have power in the process.  I get that spec-fiction authors have to accept that unless they are named King, Martin, Rowling, Pratchett, Scalzi, or the like, they are going to face a 5-to-1 (and probably worse) rejection to acceptance ratio.  I get all that.

But a form email back to an author you aren't selecting – an author who took the time to format and submit a story to your publication – is just a baseline for good manners.  I know it takes time to respond to 800+ authors you didn't choose.  Well, any kind of publication takes time to run – and what kind of publication would it be if none of those folks submitted to you because they considered you dismissive of their efforts?  A poorer one.  I mean, how long did it take to read all those submissions?  Submission instructions to this anthology were to place the story in the body of the email.  At the end of reading, if it wasn't good enough, hit Reply, cut and paste the standard rejection verbiage, hit Send, and move on.  How hard is that?  And simply stating that people should be monitoring your website to figure out they were not accepted is a poor decision, if you ask me … especially since nowhere in the original instructions was it stated that acceptances would be announced that way.  Courtesy is a two-way street, and I would like to have had the stories back a month ago to resubmit.

Call me bitter for not being accepted.  The publishers are free to run their site and anthology any way they choose.  I am free to label their treatment of the authors they solicited as rude.  I wish them well but won't be submitting there again.

Okay, rant over.  Back to submitting.


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